Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) and 41 House Republicans issued a letter to the House Speaker on Friday protesting over reports that the fencing around the U.S. Capitol could be permanent following a deadly riot that unfolded at the building last month.
“We urge you to remove the barbed wire fencing surrounding the Capitol and send the National Guard troops home to their families,” the group wrote in the letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “It’s time. It’s time for healing and it’s time for the removal of the fencing so the nation may move forward.”
The call for “healing” and the demand to “move forward,” comes after the fencing was initially put in place in preparation for the inauguration ceremonies on Jan. 20, when President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office. A recent statement from acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman suggested the added security might be permanent.
The House Republicans called on Pelosi in their Friday letter to remove it for fear of the landmark becoming “a permanent fortress,” while adding an openness to “debate” providing Capitol Hill Police with additional resources to keep the building safe.
The letter comes as the members of Congress voice ongoing concerns about the need for additional security measures to ensure their safety after some received death threats.
Pelosi said last week that the “enemy is within the House of Representatives,” amid growing anxieties that members of Congress had aided Capitol rioters in gaining access to the building during last month’s insurrection and that more security would be needed to protect members of Congress in their homes and district offices.
“Let us be clear. The events that happened on January 6 were horrific,” the Republicans wrote Friday. “Understandably, certain increased security measures following that date were implemented. But it is time for Congress and its representatives to stop hiding.”
The group also offered a flimsy argument that accused lawmakers who pushed for added security of wielding a “double standard” — connoting support of Capitol fencing with efforts by some lawmakers to condemn aggressive tactics and police brutality across American cities during racial justice demonstrations last summer.
“The people who call Capitol Hill home live day in and out with fences, military trucks, and military personnel in their backyards, on their way to work, to school, or the grocery store,” the group wrote, suggesting that a decision to keep the fencing stood in the way of the country’s value of freedom.
“The current state of the Capitol Complex fundamentally undermines that message, and we urge an end to it,” they said.
The letter to Pelosi appealing for the removal of Capitol fencing seems to fit with a broader GOP narrative about “moving on,” which many have pushed in a seeming effort to dodge accountability for fanning the flame of last month’s riot, which was fueled by election falsehoods perpetuated by a vast majority of Republican lawmakers.